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Jaguars on the hook for city losses in stadium deal if team leaves Jacksonville

A new draft agreement for the Jaguars stadium deal shows the team would be on the hook for city expenses if the team ever left Jacksonville.

The $1.4 billion deal includes $625 million from the Jags and $775 million from taxpayers. The newly released documents ensure the team will not “relocate, transfer or otherwise move the Team to a location other than the Stadium.”

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“It builds trust with the taxpayers that if they are to invest in stadium renovations — it will keep the Jaguars here for the long term,” Kristi Sweeney, the chair of the University of North Florida’s sport management department, said.

According to the draft agreement, the Jags would cover 100% of the city’s investment for 14 years of the lease if it were broken. After that, liquidated damages drop by 6.5% every year until the end of the 30-year lease.

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“That allows the taxpayers to really see more of a return on their investment in terms of economic development,” Sweeney said.

She added that it’s similar to other recent stadium deals, like the Bills who are on the hook for 100% repayment to the City of Buffalo for 15 years.

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According to the draft agreement, the City of Jacksonville is also “entitled to recover costs in connection with demolition of the Stadium” if the lease is broken.

“There’s no reason to renovate a stadium unless you have a tenant that uses the facility on a regular basis,” Sweeney said.

The city said this is just a draft agreement and could still change.

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